From whiskey to coffee to huge foodie weekends, here's the lowdown on the finest food and drink festivals in London through March-May 2020.
Raw Wine Fair
For anyone who's really into their vino, the Raw Wine Fair is something of a playground, with 120 wine brands from all over the world showing off their top-notch tipples. Focus is on natural, organic and biodynamic wines, so you know exactly what you're drinking, and there's a chance to mingle with the producers and ask them your questions.
Raw Wine Fair, 8-9 March 2020.
Irish Whiskey Weekend
Guinness usually takes centre stage at St Patrick's Day celebrations, but not so at the Irish Whiskey Weekend. It's by the people behind London Cocktail Week, and operates on a similar principle — download your free digital pass to access £6 Irish whiskey cocktails and flights in participating bars across the city.
Irish Whiskey Weekend, 13-17 March 2020.
Vegan Life Live at Alexandra Palace
Vegan Life Live turns the usual approach to veganism on its head, focusing on what you can have, rather than what you can't eat if you adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Over two days, tuck into pizza, pasta, ice cream, kebabs and other comfort food, all completely vegan. Pick up tips for your own cooking, from family meals to fancy desserts, at specialist chef demos. Roxy and Ben, authors of So Vegan In 5, and Joe and Mike Hill of frozen vegan pizza company One Planet Pizza are among the speakers.
Vegan Life Live, 14-15 March 2020.
Eat & Drink Festival
One of London's biggest foodie events is Eat & Drink Festival. It goes on for two weeks, so there's plenty of time for return visits if you don't fill your boots belly the first time round.
The show is split into several sections. We suggest starting at the Artisan Producers Market, where you can stock up chutneys, breads, cheeses, cooking sauces and the like for your kitchen cupboards. Then make your way to The Great Eat, where you can satisfy you're well-earned appetite with street food from cuisines from all over. Waddle over to the Food & Drink Stage, where you can pick up tips from celebrity chefs and experts as they chat, or whip up a feast, in front of your eyes. Chocolatier Paul A Young and TV cook Rosemary Shrager are among this year's guests.
Eat & Drink Festival, 27 March-13 April 2020.
London Coffee Festival
Caffeine addicts, rejoice! London Coffee Festival returns, with exhibitors from all aspects of the coffee industry. Watch live latte art demonstrations, take part in home barista workshops and sample coffee, cocktails and wine in The Tasting Room. Live music comes courtesy of eight finalists of The Coffee Music Project, and you can view the latest coffee tech from the likes of DeLonghi and Dualit.
London Coffee Festival, 2-5 April 2020.
The Gin & Rum Festival
Gin and rum. In a church. What could possibly go wrong? The Gin & Rum Festival brings together a selection of distillers from all over — work your way through them armed with a guide to the tipples, hear talks and take part in masterclasses by gin and rum experts. Hic.
The Gin & Rum Festival, 17-18 April 2020.
Marylebone Food Festival
Get your posh pants on for the Marylebone Food Festival. There's no standing about in a field at this one — it takes place at some of the area's fanciest restaurants, with celebrated chefs cooking up a storm. The launch event is hosted by food critic Jay Rayner, an eight-course, wine-paired meal. Other events are announced and tickets go on sale 10 March, but we do know that Chiltern Firehouse, Blandford Comptoir, Rococo Chocolates and The Shanghai Supper Club are involved this year.
Marylebone Food Festival, 21-26 April 2020.
The Cognac Show
Bit of a niche one, this, but if you like cognac, then surely The Cognac Show is worth a punt. More than 30 exhibitors bring 150 varieties of the French spirit to London to sample. Cognac cocktails are available too, and your ticket includes one Dream Pour token, to be spent on sampling a high-end tipple of up to £250 in value.
The Cognac Show, 24-25 April 2020.
Feria de Londres
Feria de Londres is a free-entry festival of all things Spanish taking place in Guildhall Yard, with dancing, music... and of course, food and drink. Feast of Spain is the food market at the centre of the festival, with stall selling Spanish produce and hosting food, sherry and wine tastings. It's also a chance to witness the UK's first ever paella competition.
Feria de Londres, 23-24 May 2020.
Foodies Festival at Syon Park
Another big one in the culinary calendar, Foodies Festival goes on a tour of the UK each summer, beginning at Syon Park in west London over the late May bank holiday.
Wander among street food and produce stalls, and watch Celebrity MasterChef Winners cooking live in The Chefs Theatre. Bake Off competitors take care of the cake side of things, and the festival vibe comes courtesy of 50+ bands lined up to perform over three days, including a Nile Rodgers and Chic tribute band. New for 2020 are a Dog Arena, and a extended Kids Zone, with a kids' cookery theatre and slime zone.
Foodies Festival, 23-25 May 2020.
For a taste of Italy, get yourself to Brick Lane for Sicily Fest, a celebration of Sicilian culture including the region's delicious gastronomy. Arancini, cannoli, panelle, gelato, cheese, pasta and wine all feature, with dishes available to eat at the festival, and produce on sale to take home with you. The organisers are bulking the event up this time round, with an increased selection of masterclasses by Sicilian chefs, along with live music and performances.
SicilyFest, 29-31 May 2020.